Increase in Value
Increase in Cost Efficiency
In order to help our client achieve their goals, we had to undergo a somewhat complicated planning and design process. We knew we needed to supply our client with more space on the ground floor – to open up the kitchen-living-dining area and add a utility room with its own door to the garden – and we knew we wanted to add a new level devoted almost entirely to a private space for the parents. To do this, we needed to alter the property with a rear extension, a side extension and a loft conversion.
In addition, under instructions from our client, we had to extend the original staircase to provide access to the new level – they were very clear that they didn’t want a second staircase adjacent to the first floor bathroom. Moreover, we had to face resistance from a case officer who disagreed with a certain aspect of our plan, despite our assurances that our proposal followed the relevant policies to a tee. And to make matters more complicated, we were not able to pursue the necessary extensions under permitted development, as the house is on a corner plot.
In addition to the many challenges, we were gifted with certain opportunities. Luckily, the property’s size would allow us to pursue a number of extensions without worrying about bulkiness, which planning officers are generally keen to prevent. Moreover, we had plenty of room in the garden to extend, so we could provide lots of extra space on the ground floor. With a clear view of our challenges and opportunities, we were ready to embark. To tackle the many extensions, we decided to submit two separate applications: one planning permission application for the rear extension, side extension, and the dormer loft conversion with a juliet balcony; and a second planning permission application for raising the side dormer so we could extend the original staircase to the upper level.
After compiling our drawings and Design and Access Statement, we submitted the initial application, and due to our compelling policy research, we were successful! Having obtained the appropriate consent, we had plenty of room on the ground floor to add tons of extra living space. Specifically, the rear extension allowed us to enlarge the dining area and open up the ground floor layout, so that the kitchen, living and dining rooms flowed into one another. The side extension allowed us to move the original bathroom further toward the side – which in turn provided even more space for the newly enlarged kitchen. This addition also gave us plenty of space to add a large utility room containing, among other things, a boiler, water tank and washer. And because the client wanted a door to the garden – one that could be used to take rubbish from the kitchen to the street – we added an entryway to the rear wall of the utility space.
The first application also gave us copious room to make additional changes to the first floor layout and the newly created third level. Whereas, prior to our intervention, the first floor contained all four bedrooms – two for the children, one for the parents and another for guests – now that same level could have a study and an ensuite for the guest room, while retaining the two bedrooms for the kids. And with the added ensuite, the first floor could now have two bathrooms in total. The fourth bedroom was moved to the new level, where the parents could enjoy their own private juliet balcony, an ensuite bathroom, a walk-in wardrobe, extra storage space and a study. To help our clients save money on plumbing, the ensuite was positioned above the bathroom on the lower floor.
Now for the tricky part. In the initial application we provisionally placed the staircase to the top floor just next to the first floor bathroom. But since the client was clear that they wanted to use the original staircase to access the utmost level, we had to submit a second application to raise the roof ridge of the side dormer by 1.2 meters to provide the necessary space. On our first attempt, the council refused our application because the officer deemed it “an incongruous addition” that would upset the symmetry of the neighbouring houses, the character of the property and the appearance of the street scene. This struck us as odd because, in fact, the Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG), which contains the relevant policies, specifically states that we could raise the side dormer as long as we were doing this to provide access to the roof level. For this reason, we appealed the decision and won. With this final win, we could help our clients achieve their ultimate vision, providing a single staircase that ascends to the top level. Moreover, the children could have plenty of space to study and socialise, and the parents could enjoy the serene privacy of their own top floor master bedroom. All of this added up to a higher quality of living and a boosted property value for our clients.
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